Illegal aliens easy targets of workplace wage, labor law abuses

posted on:
October 20, 2010

author:
KIRK SEMPLE

[EXCERPT] — In a time of widespread joblessness, Mexicans in New York have proved unusually adept at finding and keeping work. Of the city’s 10 largest immigrant groups, they have the highest rate of employment and are more likely to hold a job than New York’s native-born population, according to an analysis of the most recently available census data. They are even employed at a greater rate than Mexicans nationwide.

And as they have filled the city’s restaurant kitchens and building sites, they have acquired a reputation for an extraordinary work ethic.

“They put their heads down and work,” said John Delgado, business manager of Local 79, a general building laborers’ union in New York. “They’re very, very humble. They’re dedicated, whether they work half a day or a day and a half.”

That success, though, has a flip side. One reason Mexicans have found work in such numbers, experts say, is that many are illegal immigrants, and less likely to report workplace abuses to the authorities for fear of deportation.

“Illegal immigrants are very convenient,” said Demetrios Papademetriou, president of the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research group in Washington. “Employers are quite interested in employing people who are willing to work and to overlook some labor laws.”

Read the full story at the New York Times online.

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